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President Muhammadu Buhari has
inaugurated the Governing Council and Board of Trustees, board of the Trust Fund
for the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation  for the
implementation of the United Nations Environmental Report (UNEP) on Ogoniland.

This is essentially as ‎the Federal
Government has resolved that the counterpart ‎funding for the cleanup will be
drawn from Joint Venture (JVC)‎.‎

President Buhari, during the ceremony at the
Presidential Villa, Abuja, which is coming two months after the groundbreaking
ceremony to kick-start the cleaning process, said it was a huge project and
needed thorough planning and the involvement of the community and, therefore,
called for patience and understanding of the people. ‎

“Indeed, a project of this
magnitude requires extensive planning, scientific analysis, community
involvement, and genuine partnerships. As a result, it will require patience
and understanding of the key stakeholders as we move forward,” he said.

“It is our collective
responsibility to ensure that the project remains on course, as we face the
challenges of high expectations and the current conflict in the Niger Delta.

“The clean-up is exercise is
expected to go on for two decades. The first five years will address emergency
response measures and remediation, while the subsequent years will look to
restore the ecosystems in the Delta.

“The governance framework we lay
today, following extensive consultations, will form the bedrock for
sustainability for years to come.

“Together, we will be able to
transform what is today a tragic tale of desolation and destruction to one of
restoration and opportunity for the coming generations.

“The expertise and technology exist
to make this a reality. In the end, this project will serve as the “gold
standard” for the clean-up of similar pollution in other parts of the Niger
Delta, and the world at large,” the president remarked.

Buhari called on local communities,
who he observed were the direct beneficiaries of the project to ensure its
security and that of the persons implementing it.

“I use this opportunity, to call
upon the local communities, especially our youths who will be the direct
beneficiaries of this effort, to work with us in ensuring the security of the
projects and persons implementing them.

While thanking the appointees for
accepting the responsibility, he urged them to give their utmost commitment to
ensuring the highest standard of transparency and accountability in “this
important task.”

The inauguration came exactly five
years to the day the UNEP ‎submitted an extensive report on its environmental
assessment of Ogoniland.

Members of the Governing Council
include the Minister of Environment as the Chairman, Minister of National
Planning, Udoma Udoma, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Usani,
Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, National Security Adviser,
Babagana Monguno, Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission
(NDDC), Nsima Ekere, Managing Director, SPDC, Osagie Okunbor, amongst others.

Representatives of Ogoni
Stakeholders on the Council include Pyagbara Legborsi, Ben Naneen and two
alternatives.

Members of the BoT include Wale
Edun as Chairman, Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, Minister of State for
Environment, Ibrahim Jibril and Minister of State for Petroleum.  Representatives of IOCs include Osagie Okunbor,
Insula Massimo and Alexis Bobk. Other communities in the Niger Delta, NGOs as
well as the UNEP are also represented on the board. A legal adviser would be
appointed by the governing council in due course.

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